Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Maori king won't meet royal couple

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit New Zealand next month

New Zealand's indigenous Maori king has refused to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visit the country next month, saying officials organising the royal couple's schedule didn't allow enough time.

Officials had offered up to 90 minutes for the William and Kate to visit King Tuheitia at his sacred meeting house.

Elaborate Maori protocol dictates that important welcoming ceremonies can often last hours.

In a statement, King Tuheitia said Maori royalty was "not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone".

The decision was criticised by New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, who said that 90 minutes seemed "generous" given the royal couple's busy schedule.

The Maori king is a ceremonial position that doesn't wield any statutory powers.

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